The Sandwich Trick-How to Get an Upgraded Hotel Room

hotel suite

I want to share a tip with you guys and I dare you to try it next time your walking up to the front desk. You have to have no shame but there is a possibility you will score big.

I was on my way to Vegas a few years ago for business. I was staying in a nice hotel but not the hotel I would have picked. I would have chosen THE Hotel at Mandalay Bay, but not the old Mandalay Bay hotel. There was a difference and it was confusing. You get the old hotel and there will probably be 3 layers of gross on the bed and tub. No, THE Hotel at Mandalay Bay was a 2 room suite, with 1.5 bathrooms. Now mind you, I was going off the knowledge of staying there a few years before that time so by then, it too may have had several layers of gross covering the half bath.

I googled how to get an upgraded hotel room. The results weren’t stellar until I found a website explaining the sandwich trick or the $20 dollar bill trick. I was intrigued and read on. I have since used the trick several times and have had extremely good results, especially in New York City.

First let me say there has to be certain conditions met for this to work. Please don’t attempt this at Motel 6 and wonder why your hotel room still has the sink outside the bathroom with a credit card size DIAL soap bar wrapped in paper. This isn’t meant for motels.

Condition #1: Check hotel sites and ensure nicer than your room rooms are available.  You can’t get something that doesn’t exist. Duh. If they do exist, make sure you note which rooms you are aiming for. And I’m not talking about walking in and hoping for the Presidential Suite. Let’s be real here.

Condition #2: If possible, quickly read the front desk associates. If you get the Dwight Schrute of the bunch who is all about rules and really shouldn’t be in the hospitality industry, he won’t budge. I’ve found my best luck is an Assistant Manager who really doesn’t give a damn or the middle aged, nice lady who has a “who’s this gonna hurt” mentality. Don’t get the young employee who just started, scared of screwing up. This is an instance where you will have to judge a book by it’s cover and pray your right. I’ve been wrong a few times and get so mad at myself because of it. Oh yeah, and don’t be an ass hole. Acting like an arrogant prick will probably land you in the room a murder took place in or a spring break party.

Condition #3 is basically the 2nd step to this operation. After identifying there are indeed rooms that are better than your booked one, you need to decide on a tip. This is the “meat” for the sandwich. You place the $20 between your credit card and drivers license so they can clearly see it. For what to say, google other sites for ideas but here is my speech:

“Hi, I know I have the king size single room booked but I noticed the Largo Room had a separate sitting area. Are there any available? I’m here on business and would love an area that I could have meetings with my vendors, rather than having to do it in a public place. I would like to tip you $20 if you can find me an upgrade.”

Right or wrong it’s worked for me multiple times. And please don’t have a dollar bill between your credit card and drivers license and expect a suite at the SOHO Grand. Not happening. I have yet to have a hotel employee say “no” to my tip.

So here is where it has worked for me:


The Roger: no balcony to a balcony that wrapped around a corner complete with 4 lounge chairs. The balcony was bigger than my room.

The Empire Hotel: this was my best score ever. I had a queen size bedroom reserved, extremely small. I went from a 191 square foot room to a 2 room 448 sq ft suite overlooking Lincoln Center. It had French doors, a living room and a 4 person table.This was like finding a unicorn and my biggest score.


Palazzo- there wasn’t much wiggle room here. The hotel was almost full booked but I did change my non view to the view overlooking Treasure Island’s Pirate show each night. It was pretty cool.


Chateau Elan-A winery North of Atlanta. I went from a typical king size room to a large King Studio room complete with a living room.


One of my vendors invited me to his suite at the Indie 500 a few years back and put us up at a local hotel. Not the greatest hotel but I was upgraded to a jacuzzi with the sandwich trick. I decided to go with an “ignorance is bliss” mentality when partaking in the jacuzzi.

I’ll have to think if I missed any other hotels but there you go! Proof it works. How about you? Have you ever tried it? Would you try it? Do you think I’m obnoxious for doing it?




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